Promoting independent complaint resolution

Validation Committee

The Association’s Validation Committee scrutinises both applications for membership and the 5-yearly re-validation of existing Ombudsman members against our membership criteria. The Validation Committee has a majority of independent members who are appointed via an open recruitment process for their knowledge and expertise of the ombudsman sector.

Chair - Rob Behrens

Rob BehrensRob Behrens CBE is the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in the UK. Rob holds non-executive positions at UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admission Service) and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. He is Chair of ENOHE, the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education, and a Visiting Professor at University College London.

Rob was Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive of OIAHE, the ombudsman service for higher education students in England and Wales, for two terms between 2008 and 2016. Previously, Rob worked in higher education and then had a career in the UK civil service.

During his time with the civil service, Rob served for three years as Secretary to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the body giving independent advice on standards to the Prime Minister. He also worked in international development, including notable work on the South African transformation from apartheid - a role for which he was thanked personally by Nelson Mandela. Rob was also Complaints Commissioner to the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales between 2006 and 2008.

Ombudsman member representative

Felicity Mitchell

Felicity MitchellFelicity Mitchell is the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. Felicity joined the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) in 2004 and worked as a consultant before its designation as the student complaints scheme in 2005. She became Deputy Adjudicator in 2009 and Independent Adjudicator in 2018. The OIA looks at complaints from students about higher education providers in England and Wales.

As Independent Adjudicator, Felicity has overall responsibility for the OIA’s good practice and case-handling work, and for legal claims against the OIA including judicial review.

Felicity studied English at university before qualifying as a barrister. She was called to the Bar in 1992 and, after some years in private practice, moved to the ombuds sector, working at the Banking Ombudsman and the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Independent members

Margaret Doyle

Margaret DoyleMargaret Doyle is an independent mediator specialising in disputes involving equalities issues and a researcher in public-sector dispute resolution and administrative justice. She is a panel mediator with KIDS SEN Mediation Service and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Essex School of Law and the UK Administrative Justice Institute (UKAJI). Margaret is also the Independent Complaints Moderator for the British Acupuncture Council and Independent Complaints Reviewer for the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, The Dispute Service. She is a member of the Academic Panel of the Administrative Justice Council. She manages the www.ombudsresearch.org.uk blog.

Her publications include: Reimagining Administrative Justice: Human rights in small places (with co-author Nick O’Brien, forthcoming 2019, Palgrave); ‘A Place at the Table: A report on young people’s participation in resolving disputes about special educational needs and disabilities’ (2019, UKAJI); A Research Roadmap for Administrative Justice (with co-authors Varda Bondy and Maurice Sunkin, 2018); ‘The use of informal resolution approaches by ombudsmen in the UK and Ireland’ (with co-authors Varda Bondy and Carolyn Hirst, 2014); ‘Mediation in Judicial Review: A practical handbook for lawyers’ (with co-author Varda Bondy, 2011, Public Law Project); ‘Evaluation of the Manchester County Court Mediation Pilot’ (2006, Ministry of Justice (then DCA)); ‘Seeking resolution: The availability and usage of consumer-to-business alternative dispute resolution in the UK’ (with co-authors Katrina Ritters and Steve Brooker, 2004, National Consumer Council); and Advising on ADR: the essential guide to appropriate dispute resolution (2000, Advice Services Alliance).

Dr Chris Gill

Dr Chris GillDr Chris Gill joined the University of Glasgow in August 2017. After graduating with a degree in English (University College London) in 2003, he spent a decade working in regulatory and ombudsman services, at the Advertising Standards Authority and then for the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO). During his time at SPSO, Chris completed an MSc in Public Policy (University of Edinburgh). In 2012, he joined Queen Margaret University and spent the next five years as a Lecturer in Administrative Justice and latterly as Senior Lecturer.

In 2016, Chris was awarded a PhD in Law (University of Glasgow). His main expertise relates to administrative justice, with a particular emphasis on ombudsman schemes and complaints procedures, bureaucratic behaviour, access to justice, and the design and operation of dispute systems. His work has been published in Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Legal Studies, Public Law, and Social and Legal Studies.

Chris has received funding from ESRC, Nuffield Foundation, Carnegie Trust, and SSHRC (Canada). In 2017, he obtained a major three-year ESRC grant (as co-investigator, with Dr Naomi Creutzfeldt) to investigate access to justice for European energy consumers. He has also led a number of research and consultancy projects for clients including the Legal Ombudsman, Citizens Advice, the Welsh Language Commissioner, Ombudsman Services, and Utilities Disputes Ltd. Chris sits on the Law Society of Scotland’s Administrative Justice Sub-Committee. Between 2014 and 2017, he was a core team member of the UK Administrative Justice Institute.

Kate Wellington

Kate WellingtonKate is a qualified solicitor in the UK and Australia. She began her legal career in the public sector before transitioning to private practice at Linklaters LLP in London, specialising in commercial litigation, arbitration and regulatory investigations. In 2013, Kate moved in-house to work for Which? (the UK’s largest consumer association) where she held various senior roles including Lead Lawyer for Policy and Communications and Head of Legal Operations. In 2019 she became CEO of the Costs Lawyer Standards Board. Her specialist areas include consumer rights, ADR, regulatory policy and the development of professional standards.

Kate has served on numerous advisory committees and steering groups throughout her career, both at the UK and EU level. She held a public appointment as Consumer Representative to the Civil Procedure Rule Committee from 2013 to 2018 and is currently an independent member of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Professional Standards Committee. Kate holds undergraduate degrees in law (LLB) and economics (BEc), as well as a postgraduate degree in civil law (BCL) from the University of Oxford.

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The Association’s Validation Committee scrutinises both applications for membership and the 5-yearly re-validation of existing Ombudsman members against our membership criteria. The Validation Committee has a majority of independent members who are appointed via an open recruitment process for their knowledge and expertise of the ombudsman sector.

Chair - Rob Behrens

Rob BehrensRob Behrens CBE is the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in the UK. Rob holds non-executive positions at UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admission Service) and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. He is Chair of ENOHE, the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education, and a Visiting Professor at University College London.

Rob was Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive of OIAHE, the ombudsman service for higher education students in England and Wales, for two terms between 2008 and 2016. Previously, Rob worked in higher education and then had a career in the UK civil service.

During his time with the civil service, Rob served for three years as Secretary to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the body giving independent advice on standards to the Prime Minister. He also worked in international development, including notable work on the South African transformation from apartheid - a role for which he was thanked personally by Nelson Mandela. Rob was also Complaints Commissioner to the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales between 2006 and 2008.

Ombudsman member representative

Felicity Mitchell

Felicity MitchellFelicity Mitchell is the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education. Felicity joined the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) in 2004 and worked as a consultant before its designation as the student complaints scheme in 2005. She became Deputy Adjudicator in 2009 and Independent Adjudicator in 2018. The OIA looks at complaints from students about higher education providers in England and Wales.

As Independent Adjudicator, Felicity has overall responsibility for the OIA’s good practice and case-handling work, and for legal claims against the OIA including judicial review.

Felicity studied English at university before qualifying as a barrister. She was called to the Bar in 1992 and, after some years in private practice, moved to the ombuds sector, working at the Banking Ombudsman and the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Independent members

Margaret Doyle

Margaret DoyleMargaret Doyle is an independent mediator specialising in disputes involving equalities issues and a researcher in public-sector dispute resolution and administrative justice. She is a panel mediator with KIDS SEN Mediation Service and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Essex School of Law and the UK Administrative Justice Institute (UKAJI). Margaret is also the Independent Complaints Moderator for the British Acupuncture Council and Independent Complaints Reviewer for the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, The Dispute Service. She is a member of the Academic Panel of the Administrative Justice Council. She manages the www.ombudsresearch.org.uk blog.

Her publications include: Reimagining Administrative Justice: Human rights in small places (with co-author Nick O’Brien, forthcoming 2019, Palgrave); ‘A Place at the Table: A report on young people’s participation in resolving disputes about special educational needs and disabilities’ (2019, UKAJI); A Research Roadmap for Administrative Justice (with co-authors Varda Bondy and Maurice Sunkin, 2018); ‘The use of informal resolution approaches by ombudsmen in the UK and Ireland’ (with co-authors Varda Bondy and Carolyn Hirst, 2014); ‘Mediation in Judicial Review: A practical handbook for lawyers’ (with co-author Varda Bondy, 2011, Public Law Project); ‘Evaluation of the Manchester County Court Mediation Pilot’ (2006, Ministry of Justice (then DCA)); ‘Seeking resolution: The availability and usage of consumer-to-business alternative dispute resolution in the UK’ (with co-authors Katrina Ritters and Steve Brooker, 2004, National Consumer Council); and Advising on ADR: the essential guide to appropriate dispute resolution (2000, Advice Services Alliance).

Dr Chris Gill

Dr Chris GillDr Chris Gill joined the University of Glasgow in August 2017. After graduating with a degree in English (University College London) in 2003, he spent a decade working in regulatory and ombudsman services, at the Advertising Standards Authority and then for the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO). During his time at SPSO, Chris completed an MSc in Public Policy (University of Edinburgh). In 2012, he joined Queen Margaret University and spent the next five years as a Lecturer in Administrative Justice and latterly as Senior Lecturer.

In 2016, Chris was awarded a PhD in Law (University of Glasgow). His main expertise relates to administrative justice, with a particular emphasis on ombudsman schemes and complaints procedures, bureaucratic behaviour, access to justice, and the design and operation of dispute systems. His work has been published in Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Legal Studies, Public Law, and Social and Legal Studies.

Chris has received funding from ESRC, Nuffield Foundation, Carnegie Trust, and SSHRC (Canada). In 2017, he obtained a major three-year ESRC grant (as co-investigator, with Dr Naomi Creutzfeldt) to investigate access to justice for European energy consumers. He has also led a number of research and consultancy projects for clients including the Legal Ombudsman, Citizens Advice, the Welsh Language Commissioner, Ombudsman Services, and Utilities Disputes Ltd. Chris sits on the Law Society of Scotland’s Administrative Justice Sub-Committee. Between 2014 and 2017, he was a core team member of the UK Administrative Justice Institute.

Kate Wellington

Kate WellingtonKate is a qualified solicitor in the UK and Australia. She began her legal career in the public sector before transitioning to private practice at Linklaters LLP in London, specialising in commercial litigation, arbitration and regulatory investigations. In 2013, Kate moved in-house to work for Which? (the UK’s largest consumer association) where she held various senior roles including Lead Lawyer for Policy and Communications and Head of Legal Operations. In 2019 she became CEO of the Costs Lawyer Standards Board. Her specialist areas include consumer rights, ADR, regulatory policy and the development of professional standards.

Kate has served on numerous advisory committees and steering groups throughout her career, both at the UK and EU level. She held a public appointment as Consumer Representative to the Civil Procedure Rule Committee from 2013 to 2018 and is currently an independent member of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Professional Standards Committee. Kate holds undergraduate degrees in law (LLB) and economics (BEc), as well as a postgraduate degree in civil law (BCL) from the University of Oxford.

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